MASTIC BEACH - Two girls were rescued Sunday after they were pulled into a powerful rip tide at Smith Point County Park.
Andreina Collado, 15, and her 11-year-old sister, Jairianny, were swimming at the beach at around 8 p.m. when they got caught in the current. They began to panic as they were quickly swept 100 yards out to sea. The beach's lifeguards had gone home for the day.
A good Samaritan and an on-duty Suffolk Marine Bureau officer sprang into action. Officer Chris Defeo says the girls were flailing their arms and barely keeping their heads above water as he and the other rescuer dove into the water.
As the girls were being rescued, their mother, Nancy Collado, says she had a panic attack and passed out at the water's edge, nearly drowning. Another person pulled her to safety.
Collado says she's hugging her daughters a little tighter today. The girls say they are grateful to the two people who saved their lives.
Officers with the Marine Bureau say it's never advisable to swim after lifeguards have left the beach. They're also reminding bathers who find themselves caught in rip currents to stay calm and swim parallel to the shore until the current dissipates.